This message was sent to me by Mazie Jenkins an MMSD employee. This trend needs to STOP. I’m committed to changing this. I need your support on Monday nights and every single day!!!
If there is not major intervention in the next 25 years, 75 percent
of urban young men will either be hopelessly hooked on drugs or
alcohol, in prison or dead.
The data are clear. Reports by the American Council on Education, the
Education Trust and the Schott Foundation show that African-American
boys spend more time in special education, spend less time in advanced
placement or college prep courses and receive more disciplinary
suspensions and expulsions than any other group in U.S. schools today.

The Schott Foundation started the Black Boys Initiative in 2003, says
President Rosa Smith, because “black boys represented the worst-case
scenario for a group coming out of public education.”
The foundation’s 2004 state-by-state report on black male students
found that, among other negative indicators, more black males receive
a GED in prison than graduate from college.
In regard to last year’s local violent crime, Star columnist Steve
Penn recently reported that a disproportionate number of the victims
(86) and suspects (54) in the 127 homicides were African-American. And
most of them were African-American males.
Why might the violent crime rate be so high among African-American
youths? They make up a brotherhood of the broken, bruised and
defeated. Their girls have their mothers, aunts, teachers, school
administrators and social workers to daily advocate for them. These
boys have few advocates who understand their pain and speak up for
them. Their issues don’t reach the mainstream until white boys in the
suburbs reach a similar set of circumstances.
What makes the plight of African-American boys so disturbing is that
it appears as if few are concerned. The traditional social development
institutions are failing them. Their family of origin, their schools,
their churches, the youth-serving social service agencies, social
workers – all are failing to reach this group of hardened boys.
Spencer Holland of Morgan State University cites the problem this way:
Young African-American inner-city boys, coming from predominantly
female-headed households with few, if any, adult male role models who
value academic achievement, may come early to view school as no place
for a boy. Performance-based instructional strategies in the primary
grades that require children to copy and imitate behaviors
demonstrated by primarily female teachers may lead boys to believe
that school work and activities are “what girls do.” Thus, they begin
to reject learning activities for those behaviors that appear
In many schools, African-American boys are removed from traditional
education by disciplinary interventions or by being tracked into
special education. Vernon C. Polite, professor at Bowie State
University and co-editor of the book /African American Males in
School // and Society/, in an independent study found that suspensions
may range from two to 22 days, leaving large numbers of
African-American boys to wander the streets daily where they begin
engaging in crime.
Of African-American boys who enter special education, only 10 percent
return to the mainstream classroom and stay there, and only 27 percent
In addition to data on the challenges African-American boys face in
public schools, researchers point to less quantifiable factors.
Professor Melissa Roderick of the University of Chicago notes that
black boys often do not feel cared for in their school or their
communities. Polite also noted that the perceived lack of caring was
the most devastating factor for African-American boys.
If African-American boys are not in school, they are not likely to be
directed to youth-serving agencies like Boys and Girls Clubs, Big
Brothers/Big Sisters, Boy Scouts or YouthFriends, and these agencies
are not really set up to support these tough boys. And many inner city
churches don’t have the budgets or the full-time staff to devote to
their deep needs.
Nell Noddings, a professor at Stanford University, a former K-12 math
teacher and the author of several books on caring, observes that
“young black men and boys growing up without male role models and in
conditions of poverty probably do need, more than anyone else, that
assurance that somebody really cares. Many studies show the single
most important thing in turning lives around is the ongoing presence
of a caring adult.”
The downward trend of Kansas City’s African-American boys in school
and society will not end unless educators, clergy, and community and
business leaders make African-American boys a high priority. If you
don’t believe me, wait 25 years from now and see what the results are.
Or, do you really care?